At Honey Bee Quilt Store, customers shop for more than just fabric, patterns and supplies. They come for inspiration.
The store, with its walls adorned with newly sewn quilts created by owner Dianne Ferguson and her staff, serves as a springboard for creativity.
"I encourage people who come into my shop to get strong in quilting and in confidence," Ferguson said.
One of those quilts is a design that Ferguson and her staff created for American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. The publication chose Ferguson's store as one of the top 10 quilt stores in the nation for its Quilt Sampler section in the spring/summer 2012 issue. Ferguson and her staff had just two weeks to complete a never-before-used pattern and sew the entire project.
At the time Honey Bee Quilt Store was selected in 2011, the state was suffering from one of the worst droughts in history. Ferguson designed a quilt to show the progression of a drought with darker browns and greens at the top. The fabric fades into brighter, softer colors at the base of the quilt where the stitching creates a pattern of blooming flowers.
Ferguson said the fabric pieces were designed to resemble a rain chain, which helps drain water using chains or cups instead of a rain gutter. She said she first saw one at a friend's home.
"You never know where your inspiration will hit," she said.
Ferguson opened Honey Bee Quilt Store with two of her three sisters, Maryann Westerberg and Carolyn Thompson. They garnered the reputation of carrying an eclectic mix of fabric that reflected their different personalities, Ferguson said. She has kept up that reputation by incorporating her staff's opinions when purchasing new merchandise.
"I involve all the staff because everyone has a different taste," she said.
The range of fabric options, from Marvel Comics–themed patterns to replicated Civil War–era prints, caters to every type of quilter, she said. The store also carries quilting patterns from local businesses such as Sewhooked, a business started by a woman who lives in the nearby Milwood neighborhood.
Honey Bee Quilt Store offers several classes for people wanting to learn new techniques, add to their quilting skills or learn how to create a whole quilt, such as using old T-shirts for the squares.
Two years ago, the price of fabric increased, so Ferguson started a class in which participants bring in their own stash of fabric to share in a quilting project.
"It was really popular, and we're still doing it," she said.
Honey Bee Quilt Store, 9308 Anderson Mill Road, Ste. 300, 257-1269, www.honeybeequiltstore.com